Careful with that sax, Eugene

Noel WPHaving dispensed with The Beatles and then taken to plagiarising himself on later Oasis LPs, Noel Gallagher has scanned other British horizons for influence; the Oasis template is nothing he needs to stick to.

The first High Flying Birds album gave Gallagher time, he produced something to keep his name active and didn’t stretch his legs too far from the Oasis path, but there were hints of other roads being nosed down as he strode around.

The Union Jack guitar may be long packed away in the nineties, but he is a British songwriter, there’s a common feel to his records, ‘Chasing Yesterday’ shows how he has the ability to craft a song as a songwriter rather than the writer for Oasis, moving away from the mainstream everyman tunes expected.

There’s fresh authenticity in Gallagher’s voice, and Pink Floyd criterion reveal themselves with meandering guitar and saxophone work through the record. With several acknowledgements of Led Zeppelin, in title phrasing only, The Dying of the Light and When the Song Remains the Same, but there’s nothing anywhere here remotely behemothic.

Classic Gallagher chords and tone are still embedded deep in society’s conscience, but the decade old whiff of the last days of his former band hang in the nostrils as In The Heat of The Moment brings anthem time early on. Where as The Right Stuff is walking a Stone Roses bassline with jazzy rhythms and almost falsetto vocals. Floyd come again here with a lofty guitar break and boundary push with extraordinary saxophone. Yet, Primal Scream could easily knock this one out and be termed lazy.

Ballad of the Mighty I smacks of Gallagher plagiarism but the strutting rhythm, smooth vocal on an upward curve seals the record’s greatness. Johnny Marr contributes to the record and one wonders if Marr’s friendship with NGHFB1 WPNeil Finn is the reason for elements sounding like Crowded House’s Karekare. Both are floating songs but this one whips up then starts to ease back with lightly picked guitar and breezy strings.

The surprise is Gallagher’s transition and daring. It’s still a pop record in the British rock sense, and his storytelling is straightforward, but it’s great depth shows how shallow much of the most successful Oasis records were. His growth and understanding marks him far ahead of those nineties peers retreading those halcyon days.

He’s a great interviewee but has yet to place his sharp wit into his lyrics, where he has time to create a scything verse. Bold or otherwise, it is a different Noel we see today on ‘Chasing Yesterday.’

4 Responses to “Careful with that sax, Eugene”
  1. I like his post-Oasis work, but I like your comment about his lyrics not matching his interviews….

  2. Interesting observations, I’m a big Oasis fan but have yet to hear Noel’s solo albums.

    • Chasing Yesterday is a great record whether Oasis is your thing or not. There are some tracks which would sit well on an Oasis release, Lock All The Doors for instance, which was written many years ago to be an Oasis track. I’d seek them out, I wouldn’t count myself as an Oasis fan but found Noel’s solo work fine. But I can’t suggest enough you hear Chasing Yesterday.

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  1. […] picture disc, plus the aforementioned Marr release and ‘In The Heat of The Moment’ from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Nothing, and it seems they may never have even made it to these […]

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